Do I Have a Personality Disorder?

Do I Have a Personality Disorder?

Personality disorder types are sometimes mentioned in news accounts, often inaccurately. Many people do not understand different personality disorders and find media and social references confusing, alarming, or complex. But what if you think you have a personality disorder? How do you know? Importantly, what should you do?

Understanding Personality Disorders: Defining Different Types and Their Characteristics

A personality disorder is a treatable mental health condition, one that consists of long-term behavior patterns and internal experiences that may differ from everyday norms. In other words, someone with a personality disorder thinks about themselves and responds emotionally to their circumstances differently. They may:

  • Act on impulse
  • Find it challenging to relate to other people
  • Find distress hard to tolerate
  • Have difficulty understanding emotions (theirs and others)
  • Experience problems in family, work, and social situations and have a lower overall quality of life

Significantly, someone with a personality disorder usually experiences problems with daily functioning and suffers distress. This can persist and worsen without treatment.

What Are The Personality Disorder Types?

What are the different personality disorders? Furthermore, what are the characteristics of personality disorder types? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists 10 different types of personality disorders. They are organized into Groups A, B, and C personality disorders.

Group A Personality Disorders

Personality disorders in Group A include:

Group B Personality Disorders:

The following personality disorders are in Group B:

Group C Personality Disorders

Group C personality disorders include the following:

  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder

Recognizing the Signs: Identifying Common Symptoms of Personality Disorders

While some symptoms may overlap, such as low self-esteem, lack of empathy, and suspiciousness, different types of personality disorders have many unique ones.

Group A Symptoms

Schizoid Personality Disorder

  • Cold and distant toward others
  • Chooses to be alone
  • Limited emotional expression
  • Feels no pleasure in most daily activities
  • Unable to interpret social cues
  • Uninterested in having intimacy with another

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

  • Flat emotions and socially odd emotional responses
  • Experiences social anxiety, lacks close relationships, uncomfortable connecting with others
  • Inappropriate responses to others
  • Shows a lack of interest or suspicion
  • Engages in magical thinking, which is a belief that they can affect events and people with their thoughts
  • The belief that casual events and incidents hold hidden messages
  • Unusual behavior, speech, thinking, and beliefs
  • thinks or feels bizarre things, like voices whispering their name

Paranoid Personality Disorder

  • Distrustful of others
  • Suspicious of others and their actions
  • Doubts loyalty of others
  • The belief that others mean them harm, despite no reason behind it
  • Holds grudges
  • Suspects a partner’s infidelity despite no evidence of wrongdoing
  • Reluctant to confide in others, fearing they will use it against them
  • Misinterprets innocent, unthreatening situations and remarks as attacks or personal insults

Group B Symptoms

Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Emotional regulation difficulties
  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Relationship problems
  • Engages in risky behavior
  • Fears of being alone or abandoned
  • Feels empty
  • Often becomes angry
  • May threaten self-harm

Histrionic Personality Disorder

  • Highly distorted self-image
  • Intense and unstable emotions
  • Needs the approval of others for self-esteem, lacks self-worth
  • Feels an overwhelming need for others’ attention
  • Overly concerned with their looks
  • Others easily lead them
  • Speaks dramatically, opinionated, but lacks corroborating details and facts
  • Often behaves in dramatic and (or) inappropriate behaviors in a desperate attempt for attention

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Perceived superiority, grandiosity
  • Fantasizes about success, power, and attractiveness to others
  • Lies and stretches the truth about their talents and achievements
  • Excessive need for admiration and praise
  • Takes advantage of others
  • Lacks empathy
  • Behaviors and thoughts are often caused by their lack of self-confidence and diminished self-esteem

Anti-Social Personality Disorder

  • Unconcerned with others’ feelings or needs
  • Frequent legal problems
  • Often violent, aggressive
  • Steals, lies, cons others, and uses fake names
  • Violates others’ rights
  • Behaves recklessly
  • Impulsive
  • No concern for other’s or self-safety
  • Lacks regret for the negative way their behavior affects others

Group C Symptoms

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

  • Excessive focus on rules, orderliness, and details
  • Extreme stubbornness and rigidity
  • Inflexible about morality, values, and ethics
  • Strong belief everything must be perfect; becomes upset when things aren’t perfect
  • Seeks always to control others, situations, and tasks
  • Unable to delegate tasks
  • Cannot enjoy activities and ignores friends because of rigid focus on projects or work
  • Unable to complete projects because achieving perfection isn’t possible
  • Refuses to discard worthless or broken objects
  • Tightly controls spending money and budgets

Avoidant Personality Disorder

  • Highly sensitive to criticism and rejection
  • Feels unattractive, not good enough, unimportant
  • Isolated
  • Avoids meeting anyone new or trying different activities
  • Won’t take part in work activities that require contact with others
  • Extreme shyness when dealing with others and in social situations
  • Fear of embarrassment, disapproval, and others making fun of them

Dependent Personality Disorder

  • Clingy and submissive
  • Extreme reliance on others to take care of them
  • Afraid to care for themselves on their own
  • No confidence in their abilities
  • Difficulty starting and working on projects because they lack self-confidence
  • Puts up with abuse and poor treatment, even if they have other available options
  • Strong need to begin a new relationship immediately after one ends
  • Requires much comfort and advice from others to make the smallest decision
  • Difficulty disagreeing with others, fearing disapproval

Self-Assessment: Reflecting on Patterns of Behavior, Thoughts, and Emotions

When symptoms begin causing severe disruption in everyday life, and you recognize that what you’re doing, thinking, and feeling is out of line, a mental health condition may be to blame. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have one of the many personality disorder types. However, it does indicate that now is the time to get a professional opinion and discuss what can be done to help.

Seeking Professional Evaluation: The Role of Mental Health Experts in Diagnosis

How do you know which of the personality disorder types you may have? While you might be convinced you have bipolar disorder or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder based on experienced symptoms, only mental health experts can diagnose what is going on.

Rely on the Experts

Learning as much as possible about the different personality disorders is wise, especially if you think you have one. However, examining the common symptoms of each of the personality disorder types can lead you to believe you have one that you don’t. Or, you may not have a personality disorder at all. It could be that an underlying medical condition causes your symptoms.

  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder isn’t identical to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The latter is a type of anxiety disorder.
  • Those with one personality disorder type may experience symptoms of one or more other types.
  • Furthermore, the number of symptoms someone with a personality disorder has can vary.

In addition, the longer a personality disorder goes untreated, the more challenging it becomes to function in daily life. Severe mood changes can occur, and relationships are often jeopardized. Pursuing personal goals may also suffer.

Steps Toward Support: Navigating the Path to Treatment and Understanding Personality Disorders

If you think you have one of these personality disorder types, the next steps may be the key to getting answers and the best treatment. Psychotherapy can be effective in treating different personality disorders. The type of psychotherapy and other treatment methods depend on your specific type of personality disorder, its severity, and your circumstances. Everyone is unique, and treatment is tailored to meet your needs, adjusted according to changing conditions, and created in partnership with you.

Types of Psychotherapy for Treating Personality Disorder Types

Your treatment professional will decide on the psychotherapy for personality disorder treatment. These may include:

Although no current medications are explicitly used to treat different personality disorders, you may be prescribed medicines to help with some symptoms. For example, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or anti-anxiety medications may effectively alleviate depression, mood swings, anxiety, and other signs of personality disorder types.

Getting Help

The best way to ease your concerns and get answers to your questions is to contact medical professionals specializing in treating personality disorder types. Our experts at Restore-Mental Health are always available to offer confidential guidance and help you learn about treatment. Contact us anytime for more information.